Lauren Bremer loves teaching literature to her 11th- and 12th-grade students. “But I think what I love more than that, is helping this age group figure out what their path is going to be.”
Bremer has spent the past 12 years as an English teacher at Gibraltar High School in Fish Creek, Door County, Wisconsin. “I really love being in a classroom where so much of what we’re doing in the humanities has to do with asking questions about what it means to be a human, what it means to be the best version of ourselves.” Bremer says she enjoys watching the students apply those lessons to their own lives and finding their voices.
But for a while, Bremer says she’d been asking herself how she could make an even greater impact. “I felt like there was so much that needed to be fixed in education, and that I wasn’t in the position to fix it.”
On a road trip to the 2017 Women’s March in Washington D.C., Bremer shared her views with her good friend and fellow educator. Somewhere around the Pennsylvania turnpike, her friend brought up MSOE and spent the next couple hours talking about her experience with the MBA in Education Leadership program.
Bremer was already accepted into another college’s doctoral program, but soon realized MSOE’s MBA-EL program was the path for her.
“It was that business side that I was drawn to,” she says. She earned her undergraduate degree in education and English, and her first master’s degree in literature and composition, but she said she had never been exposed to business classes and the financial side of running a school.
In July 2017, Bremer began the program—and the three-hour commute from Fish Creek to Milwaukee. “I walk out the door after school on Friday, and I get in the car and drive. I stay in a hotel on Friday night and then get up and go to class. I’m home by a late dinner Saturday night.”
Bremer has two children, ages 8 and 6. After putting them to bed, she’ll head to the kitchen table to tackle classwork. It’s a lot, but Bremer says the faculty at MSOE has been outstanding in making the program something that works for working teachers. She says the content has been applicable and the program’s cohort model has helped create strong relationships and professional bonds.
“These people have amazing life stories,” she says of her cohorts. “They’ve done such varied and important work and getting their perspectives has been nothing short of inspiring.”
The MBA-EL program’s focus on character and leadership has also been impactful, she says. “I feel that’s a piece that’s missing in schools—that focus on how to manage people, lead people based on character. It’s also what we’re trying to promote in our students.”
As a future administrator, Bremer believes empowering children to be well-rounded students, capable of creativity and great ingenuity, and then fostering that same spirit in the faculty will make an important difference in one school, and maybe eventually in the way schools interact with one another.